Jason Day has top odds entering The Barclays at Bethpage Black

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In 2015, Jason Day won The Barclays by six strokes, but this year’s opener of the FedEx Cup playoffs will be contested at the daunting Bethpage Black course.

Bethpage, located in Farmingdale, New York, typically plays the toughest of any course used for The Barclays. The 7,468-yard par-71 layout will boast narrow fairways and fast greens, putting a premium on hitting fairways and achieving greens in regulation. Day is listed as the favorite at +750, with Dustin Johnson drawing in at +900 and Rory McIlroy at +1000.

Day will be playing for the first time since the PGA Championship, where he finished as the runner-up after handling the scrutiny and extra attention that comes with being defending champion. That part of his mental game, along with the three-week break, could help Day going into the tournament.

Johnson finished third at the 2012 Barclays at Bethpage Black. Johnson missed the cut at the PGA Championship, but prior to that had earned seven top-12 finishes in a row, including his U.S. Open and Bridgestone Invitational victories.

McIlroy has been inconsistent in 2016, with two missed cuts in majors.

Justin Rose (+2200 on The Barclays odds) and Henrik Stenson (+1200) captured the Olympic gold and silver medals last week in Rio de Janeiro. Of course, that tournament was on a links course, and Rose being 149th on the tour in driving accuracy percentage is a red flag.

Stenson, who won the British Open before getting on the Olympic podium for Sweden, is having a big year, but there’s always the question of how long he can sustain his great run.

The tournament is also the last opportunity for golfers to play their way into consideration for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team. Bubba Watson (+3300) is outside of an automatic qualification spot, so he has incentive to play well, on top of the momentum from his eighth-place finish while representing the United States in Rio.

Rickie Fowler (+4000) is in the top five of the PGA in strokes gained from tee to green. That kind of efficiency will come to the fore at an event where birdies could be hard to come by. Fowler needs a strong result to rate a Ryder Cup spot.

Another longshot on the golf betting lines at the sportsbooks with a great value price is the 23-year-old Argentine, Emiliano Grillo (+8000). Grillo is in the top 20 in the PGA in driving accuracy, while also being long off the tee. Being long and straight will be paramount this weekend.

The top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings after The Barclays move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston on Labor Day weekend.

Jordan Spieth Has Top Odds, Tiger Woods Making Charge on Masters Betting Lines

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Jordan Spieth has top odds and Tiger Woods is charging up the futures board, but recent history at Augusta National dictates fading those who have already won the green jacket.

Spieth is the +900 favorite on the 2018 Masters betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com, with the golf season’s first major due to commence on Thursday. All told, nine men in the field have odds of lower than +2000 (or 20/1), including Rory McIlroy (+1000), Justin Thomas (+1100), Dustin Johnson (+1100), Woods (+1400), Justin Rose (+1400), Bubba Watson (+1600), Jason Day (+1800) and Phil Mickelson (+1800).

However, only two recent champions – Mickelson in 2010 and Spieth in 2015 – have gone off at lower than +2000 odds. Woods is drawing a lot of action at many sportsbooks and it’s all well and good to indulge the thought of an all-time great writing a comeback story, but it will be his first major since 2015. Also, no one over age 40 has won the Masters since 1998.

Eight of the last nine major winners have been first-timers, with Spieth (2017 British Open) being the only exception in that span. Those trends don’t mean automatically having to rule out a favorite. Rose, who was the runner-up at the 2017 Masters, has had five top-10 finishes in the event and is also playing well so far this season, with three top-5 placings.

With a 7,435-yard course that is free of flat hole layouts, Augusta rewards golfers who are efficient with their approach. While there hasn’t been a repeat winner since Woods in 2001-02, defending champion Sergio Garcia (+2800) leads the PGA Tour in strokes gained: approach, while Thomas and Mickelson are also among the leaders.

Two-time winner Bubba Watson missed the cut in in three of the 2017 majors, including the Masters, but his recent win the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a reason to consider investing in him.

If one is bent on backing someone who is on the Yet To Win A Major Shortlist, there’s Paul Casey (+2200), who has finished sixth or better in his last three majors. A wrist ailment has affected Hideki Matsuyama (+3300) at times this season, but the Japanese star has finished 11th or higher in his last three starts at the Masters. Matsuyama’s odds are right in the range of several recent Masters champions.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Tony Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

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While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he’s apparently been hard at work ever since.

“I’ll be treating it very serious,” Romo told reporters Tuesday. “My wife will tell you she hasn’t seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I’m going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you’ll get the best I’ve got this week.”

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf “you’re trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag.”

“I’m not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball,” Romo said. “It’s at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that’s difficult, and sometimes that’s easier depending on the situation.”

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which “was not up to any Tour standard.” The first-tee jitters can’t be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

“I think they’re waiting to either tell me ‘Congrats’ or ‘I knew it, terrible,'” Romo said. “Something along those lines. They’re probably going to wait to see which way the wind’s blowing before they send them.”

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.